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Bathtub Grab Bars for Elderly: Best Types, Brands & How to Choose

By Maurice

Bathtub Grab Bars for Elderly

Bathrooms can be dangerous places, especially for the elderly. If you or a loved one is looking to instantly make the bathrooms in your home safer, consider installing bathtub grab bars in every bathtub.

Grab bars allow you to get in and out of the bathtub easily and reduce the chances of slips or falls that can lead to serious injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s estimated that 3 million people are taken to the emergency room for fall injuries every year. People aged 65 and older account for about 60% of fall-related emergency room visits, with about 80% occurring in the bathroom.

Because so many of those falls occur in the bathtub, grab bars are a necessary safety feature for the elderly. Bathtub grab bars are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. But with so many different types of grab bars for sale, how do you know which ones are right for your home?

We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll discuss the different brands of bathtub grab bars, the best types, and how to choose the right ones.

Types of Bathtub Grab Bars

Grab bars come in three types: horizontal, vertical, and diagonal.

Horizontal

Horizontal grab bars provide a stable and easy spot for you to reach. Although there are temporary suction cup grab bars available, these can be potentially dangerous if the suction cup comes undone. Consider buying permanent, metal horizontal grab bars. Horizontal models are also the best option for people confined to a wheelchair to get in and out of the tub.

Vertical

Vertical grab bars are easier to grip and take up less space. They are an ideal choice if you have limited balance. One potential drawback is that vertical grab bars provide less coverage if you’re walking in the shower compared to horizontal bars.

Diagonal

Diagonal grab bars can accommodate a range of heights and provide a natural motion when you grab the bar to allow you to easily switch from the sitting to the standing position. However, there is a higher risk of your hand slipping off a diagonal bar. Diagonal grab bars with a textured surface are easier to grip and can prevent slips from occurring.

Best Brands & Models of Bathtub Grab Bars

Websites such as SeniorsMatter and Assisting Hands Home Care, which have extensively researched bathtub grab bars for seniors, recommend the following models:

  • Moen Grab Bars. Moen’s 24-inch Grab Bar is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and can support up to 500 pounds. Moen also offers a 30-inch flip-up, screw-in grab bar that’s equipped with a textured grip to prevent hands from slipping.
  • Vaunn Grab Bars. The Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bathtub Safety Rail Shower Grab Bar Handle features a heavy-duty steel frame and a firm grip to prevent slipping.
  • Franklin Grab Bars. Franklin’s Brass Concealed Mount Safety Bath And Shower Grab Bar is manufactured with stainless steel and can also support up to 500 pounds of weight.
  • Carex Grab Bars. Highly-rated carex-manufactured grab bars offer three textured gripping areas to support people of varying heights.
  • AmazonBasics Bathroom Handicap Safety Grab Bar. This highly rated model features a grab bar length of 42 inches, stainless steel construction, and support for up to 500 pounds.

How to Choose the Best Bathtub Grab Bars for Your Needs

Now that you understand some of the best types of grab bars, it’s important to find the one that best suits your needs. Here are some things to consider:

Weight

Ensure the grab bars support your weight. Permanently installed grab bars from top-rated manufacturers can hold up to 500 pounds. Temporary suction cup grab bars will not hold as much direct weight and can be potentially dangerous if the suction cups loosen.

The Size of the Bath

Baths and showers come in all shapes and sizes, making it important to install the right size and type of grab bar that you can reach from anywhere in the tub.

Permanence

You can either purchase permanent grab bars that require hardware to install into the side of the tub or a temporary suction cup grab bar. Permanent grab bars are recommended; however, suction cub models are ideal if you’re renting, you don’t want to leave marks on the tub, or you’re on vacation or staying with family.

Style

Grab bars come in several different sizes and styles and are most commonly manufactured with hard plastic or metal. Some grab bars are angled or offer flip-up (or down) grab bars. Consider choosing a style that matches your personal needs as well as the aesthetics of your bathroom.

Where to Buy Bathtub Grab Bars

It’s not hard to find bathtub grab bars, as they’re available on sites such as Amazon; at any big-box hardware store such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards; and for purchase directly on the manufacturer's sites.

FAQs

Free grab bars for seniors: how do I get one?

There are federal- and state-backed organizations, as well as nonprofits, that offer assistance for medical care. Eldercare Locator provides several websites and resources to help with financial assistance.

Does Medicare pay for installation of senior grab bars in bath tubs?

In most cases, Medicare does not pay for grab bars for seniors. According to Elite Insurance Partners & MedicareFAQ.com, seniors with Medicare Part C may receive some assistance paying for a bathtub grab bar if one is deemed medically necessary. Veterans, meanwhile, may receive coverage from the Department of Veteran Affairs if they receive a prescription to make their homes more secure.

Where to install a grab bar at tub for seniors?

According to APA Medical Equipment, bathtub grab bars should be installed near the rims on both sides of the bathtub or near the faucet to better assist seniors in getting in and out of the tub. For bathtub/shower combinations, two grab bars should be installed on the back wall of the tub. One should be 8-10 inches from the rim of the tub, while the other should be parallel to it and 33-36 inches from the tub’s base.

Who installs grab bars for seniors?

You should contact a handyman or licensed plumber to install your bathtub grab bars to ensure they’re installed properly.

Conclusion

If you’re a senior, you should consider installing grab bars in all of your bathtubs for the safety of you and your loved ones. Slips and falls in the tub can lead to serious injuries, most commonly hip fractures. Don’t take any chances and consider installing grab bars today.


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